|Dragon Zakura [ドラゴン桜]|
Yikes! o_O [Rating: 7/10]
As an educator, this program was excruciating to watch at times. Listening to adults berate and insult teenagers in order to make them work harder is painful -- teachers in my country would be subject to dismissal for like conduct -- and yet here in America we coddle and baby our teens to an extent that academically we are a world-wide laughing-stock. I'm torn. This wasn't a lot of fun for me, but at the same time it was difficult to turn away. I'm a Nakao Akiyoshi fan, so I stuck with it. I think that others will appreciate the drama, also.
|Water Boys 2 [ウォーターボーイズ2]|
the same thing, only sweeter [Rating: 8/10]
Rather than go through all the similarities between this reboot and the other versions, I'll comment on what most impressed me. The kids in this series are small and noble and very endearing. Who couldn't love those precious, eager faces? I wanted to adopt them all. The acting, as in most doramas, is uneven. The leads are very subtle and earnest. Some of the secondary and tertiary characters are over-the-top, which caused me a bit of confusion. I should be used to it, but it clashes with the more realistic performances.
The parents are loving and sacrifice for their kids. All the corny portrayals of parents and adults in other doramas annoy me. At least even the silly adults in this one are kind-hearted. The more realistically-portrayed adults are likeable and set good examples.
The story is corny and goofy and sweet. What it lacks in believability, it makes up for in the charm and kindness of its characters. Water Boys 2 is a morality play, teaching its young viewers how to behave and care for the needs of others. Some might find this annoying, but I found it refreshing and it made me care deeply for the story's kids. They are winning and adorable, unlike the selfish and obnoxious teens that seem to proliferate.
Perhaps Water Boys 2 is a wishful reflection of the best in young people -- idealism, optimism, mercy, perseverance. At any rate, I usually have no interest in re-watching a series, but this one will be played over and over. I wish all kids were like these.